Roli Lumi announced

The original Lightpad Block is horrifically hard on the hands, and ROLI admitted it when they discontinued it in favor of the new Lightpad M Block. Brighter LEDs, more responsive, and a much, much softer surface to play on. The M is actually not that hard on the fingers, but it’s still stiffer than a Linnstrument.

As for reprogramming the Live, Loop, or Control Block to send MIDI CCs, yes it can be done, sort of. It is actually possible (or was, the last time I tried it) to build a layout in the Blocks Dashboard app that works fine when virtualized in the app, but crashes when you try to actually put it into the Block for storage… the app is capable of generating presets whose size is larger than the memory buffer in the hardware. This may be a common thing for developers to run into, but it shouldn’t happen in an entry level “anyone can use this” app that’s given to the public.

I don’t have a whole lot of faith in ROLI these days, and I’m probably a sucker for backing the LUMI campaign, but I keep hoping they’ll really get it right some day. In the meantime, I’m still looking for a coder to help me get my Lightpad M working in a non-borked fashion…

It was a Lightpad M that I bought – the original must have been hand-breaking.

Prior to that, their representatives at NAMM had the nerve to tell me that it was designed for finger drumming, and that the users surprised them by wanting to use the dedicated scale mode they provided to control the expressive instruments that they marketed it as working with.

The original Lightpad Block burnt me pretty hard. I own two of those, and will never use them. There was no upgrade path, nor discount for the early supporters. The official line was “you can also find use for those as part of your modular BLOCKs setup.”

I waited over a year on the Seaboard Block until I could physically plug one into my laptop look at the data pouring out of it.

If I hadn’t gotten in on an early bird discount, I’d probably have skipped this campaign.

And I’m saying that as one of Roli’s earliest adopters and biggest fanboys.

This being said, I do think it’s interesting that the Lightpad Block component of their integrated demo is all “mini touchscreen” stuff, ignoring most of their sensor data. The original Lightpad Block would actually be okay for that.

But back on topic, and answering Mark’s question, the Lightpad Block is great for a lot of things, and it’s more than sufficient for short term use. I voiced earlier that this is likely the de facto solution for pitch bend and mod wheel, and probably the main reason to integrate one with Lumi. Again, I’m surprised they didn’t so much as hint at that. (I’m guessing test audiences found asking them to add those controls as a $150 accessory to be insulting, so they’re emphasizing other uses)

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thanks all… very interesting…

I think the lightpad would mainly be for modwheel/sliders type activity.
live block is only really interesting because it ‘squares’ off with the lumi

seaboard block … im surprised at the reaction, I thought this was meant to be a good iteration of the seaboard line - bit disappointed/surprised on responses here, that it appears this is not the case. but its good news, saves me money, and ive plenty of expressive options anyway :slight_smile:

however, as comments on the update have highlighted, the 25% is not really a big deal, seems in Europe the retail price is around this anyway (and much less in the case of the liveblock)

so this is cool too, as means I can leave it for now… and IF I decide I need it later, I’ll just buy it on amazon … won’t cost me anymore :slight_smile:

programming - yeah littlefoot interests me, but as of now, I cannot get Roli to confirm if this will be available on Lumi or not… they are no disclosing anything really on how it can programmed.

I love the Seaboard Block.

I refused to buy it without testing it, because I hated the original Lightpad. But once I did, I immediately preferred it for my personal playing style.

(Seaboard Rise, I actually find it super inspiring that my pood technique leads to one handed chords being out of tune. But my hands fall in the right place to avoid that on the Seaboard Block, and avoiding that is probably better.)

I’m considering adding an extra Seaboard Block to give me a third one, and 72 keys. 48 covers most of the range for anything in the SWAM libraries, and this would leave me with probably half an octave of empty keys on either end, but I’d basically never need to hit the “octave up” or “octave down” buttons again. (Hard to justify, but the 25% discount helps.)

My hesitation there is mostly that I want a matching set of Lumi and Seaboard blocks, and don’t want to throw down for a third Lumi. (I’m considering building a two tier base for them to sit on, reminiscent of pipe organ controls)

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Side note:

The Seaboard Rise is three Lightpad Blocks wide, and has three DNA connections. Lumi had similar dimensions, if not exactly the same.

Meaning, symmetry can be a challenge if you want two rows of different configurations to snap together. Because the end of one unit is not meant to line up with the halfway point on another, but rather, the 1/3 or 2/3 points.

(My two tier base idea, that’s not a factor. I don’t need the DNA connectors to line up.)

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Lightpad Block as pitch and mod wheel. Har de har har! I suggested that to them years ago, when it first came out, and the coder at ROLI I spoke to implied that I was a functional illiterate for even suggesting such a thing when it was so bog-stupid to mock up myself after I learned Littlefoot.

I gave my Lightpad M to a friend who was curious about them, so he could build me a pitch and mod control thing (also toggles for footswitches and a small XY pad) and make the Lightpad M less of a doorstop.

Since this conversation has become partly about ROLI in general, just for the sake of balance I feel I should mention that my experiences in dealing with them has been super positive.

They replaced a block that had a small hardware issue professionally and without any hassle. They have a nice community going with various benefits for the members, and I have the impression they take their users seriously. One of them even set up a skype chat with me at one point, just to chat about their future plans, my opinions, how to make the community even better, etc.

This is partly a marketing strategy, obviously. Making sure to be friends with various youtubers, etc. But I have never gotten the impression that they are anything but sincere in wanting to keep their customers happy, make quality products and promote MPE as best they can.


Along those lines… in the early days during the Seaboard GRAND preorder, there was… I want to say it was a run-of-the-mill shipping delay. Some very common and innocuous problem. And rather than send an impersonal email, they made an appointment to call me, on my own schedule, at whatever ridiculous hour it would end up being in their timezone.

I was very impressed with that gesture, and I won’t soon forget it.

(I still hate the original Lightpad Block, though.)


I don’t know about making the customer learn Littlefoot. Asking them to suggest that application in a community forum might be more reasonable. But at that time, the community would have also laughed at you.

The trick being that a global pitch bend control seems so unnecessary when the whole point of your controller is to eliminate the need for that.

But this new entry into the BLOCK family screams for someone to build that.

…and letting that need persist after you’ve created it is a risky maneuver.

If anything, it would be smarter to release a video that walks the user through creating exactly this application. They could even play the “see? we’re teaching you music” card and not come across as complete dicks.

But, yeah. The opportunity is that Lumi can sell a bunch of Lightpad blocks, because Lumi doesn’t have a bend wheel. And they’d be selling them to people with universally no interest in coding. So, build that page in the app, and show us it’s there.

Anyway, they chose to put a July 1st deadline on this flash sale, and have yet to even mention pitch bend, so it seems this strategy is just me projecting.


I just bought a used Seaboard Block to add to my collection. Better discount than this sale price. And it’ll arrive long before Lumi ships in October.

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We’re somewhere between 2-3 days left on the campaign, if anyone’s waiting for last minute hijinks.

(I added a third unit to my order.)

This was precisely my thought. Wheels aren’t necessary with an MPE controller, but with LUMI they will be.

Also, I’m not ROLIcentric here… having a Lightpad M with a bunch of left hand controls would be hella handy for setting up next to my Push 2 or Launchpad Pro. :slight_smile:

Yeah, if they put wheels on the thing then the stacking feature would be gone. They already mentioned that further matching Lumi related extensions are on the horizon. A module with wheels and a pedal jack sounds plausible. On the other hand some newer synths replace the wheels with an XY pad anyways - and that already exists in the Roli world…

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Yes it does, well, it mostly does, sort of, actually, no, the XY pad thing on the Lightpad M is useless as a left hand controller because it can’t send pitch bend messages and it can’t snap to center in a meaningful way.

sounds like something very easily rectified … esp. given lightfoot.

something that if they see the use-case for, which lumi keys provides, they could easily add… if they don’t, that kinda crazy! (id do in software, via cc, IF they can give be 14 bit resolution!)

that said, Lumi is kind of interesting, as it shows Roli recognise the mechanical /tactile feedback of the keyboard (or market value?) … so that could lead them to do a wheels (?) - though it seems more likely they’d go touch strips - but that seems a bit close to lightblock.

on the other hand, I think roli see themselves still ‘premium’ , so seems unlikely they’ll release a ‘cheap’ mod/pitchwheel block.

( I don’t see ‘stacking’ as an issue too much…theres always going to be ‘end of chain’ devices - no?)

ROLI’s approach to this stuff is completely MPD. On the one hand, they’re pushing these things as a perfect platform for beginners, just turn it on, attach the software, and go. On the other hand, they’re pushing Littlefoot as a do-it-all solution for a hackable platform. The problem is, there’s an enormous gap between the two. Anyone who wants to use these controllers outside of the very limited ecosystem but who doesn’t want to learn to code is basically hosed.

I’m probably sounding like a broken record at this point (I know @greaterthanzero is probably sick of me by now! :wink: ) but I’ve mentioned many places where the ROLI user experience is problematic for folks trying to do more than just playing with NOISE or Equator, but who don’t want to roll their own code in Littlefoot. Out-of-the-box presets that don’t work right (and can’t be fixed without Littlefoot), bog-standard features that are left out but that everyone wants (but you can put them in with Littlefoot, so why don’t you, you whiny little end user you?), user programs that virtualize just fine but brick the hardware when you download them… it’s frustrating beyond belief.

I invested in the Lumi because it seems like the lighting and form factor will be useful for certain kinds of performance that I really value, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for ROLI to deliver anything by way of gestural control that actually works properly. And I really, really doubt they’ll bother with a Block that has actual tactile controls when they’re all about not needing that Stone Age crap any more…

Wow, I’m grumpy. I need chocolate. Sorry.

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So Roli have announced yet more delays on lumi,
Not reaching fulfillment til mid feb 2020
( assuming no more delays!)

What’s really annoying is they have pushed everyone that ordered more than one lumi to the back of the queue - so earliest backers, like me, could be the last to receive one.

I’m seriously thinking about cancelling the order now, lost a bit of faith in Roli - and hearing they might be having financial issues concerns me too.

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Uuuu real bummer… unexpected from ROLI ?
Hope they pick up holiday spirit and come on top of their game…

It’s not the first time I’ve been pushed to the bottom of a pile for investing more heavily in a project than other people. It’s definitely frustrating, but I also know that I’m a dick to complain about it. My four units can fill orders for four people – that’s clearly the right call at this point.

Still, it shouldn’t have got to this point. And there really should have been much more communication much earlier. (I do think they’re finally being open enough, but there’s a lot of damage to repair, and a number of users who will never forgive them no matter how things turn around.)

Anyway. I’m still anxious to receive mine and start making apps for it. I just hope that the controller isn’t old news by then.

(Meanwhile, if you’re looking for an alternative to develop for, I can absolutely recommend Launchpad X.)

I’ve done a lot of project management in my time…and really this is all just very poor project management.

Roli will have known they were unable to deliver before Christmas for months.
also… they are now saying it will take 3 months to rollout LUMIs to all customers, so even if they had starting shipping in October as they initially planned it still highly unlikely they could have kept that Christmas deadline… again something they will have known.

“ah, but it was more successful that hoped” … unlikely, but lets also remember they were actively encouraging people to add more LUMIs to their order at the backing kit stage - why if they already knew they were going to have fulfilment issues.

of course, for a startup these things are likely to happen, but Roli is not a startup, its done these kind of products before…

I do of course recognise that all teams/project managers tend to shy away from reality when things start slipping - but thats where senior management need to be ‘on the ball’ , to curb the optimism (‘some how will make it’), to get expectations under control early.

really? Ive done quite a few Kickstarter campaigns and they have alway basically shipped in backing order…even if they were extremely late (one was 2 years late :wink: )

also many of the more established companies (like Roli :wink: ) anticipate these issues, and so different tiers with different delivery dates … its simply unrealistic to say you are going to deliver everything in one month, regardless of how many backers you have…

I personally don’t care much, above not liking how Roli are handling it… and also frankly, with recent news on Roli’s financial health… I was hoping to get the LUMI before, just in case other ‘events’ take over.

dunno now… I really need a some kind of mini keyboard for my Eurorack setup, not sure I can be bothered to wait for an indefinite period for this…

pity, as like you, I had some coding plans for LUMI… so those would go out the window too.
oh well, Ive lots of other projects to attend to :wink:

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